Escapism : Japan + Turkey

This year I went to Japan for the third (or forth?) time and I also went to Turkey for the second time. 


We went to Japan again for Midsummer Design Festa, our first summer and typhoon experience. It was all about the bad weather. We had to stay indoor a lot, we didn't explored as much as we wanted, the mini hikes we did were tough, the typhoon attacks were super scary. So we were pretty much disappointed because Japan was not as friendly as we remembered. 

But we made a zine out of this trip, called Summer & Typhoon, a collaboration of Af and I. The pictures he took on films and the doodle notes that I did during the trip.

This is a picture of me with the umbrella that Af broke because of the super wind.

Huge reminder : Don't go to Japan during odd season. We went there during the transition between summer and autumn, so a lot of too hot to function and random windy scary typhoon attacks. This was in August. 


Things I wrote in August :

About the 8 hours bus ride from Tokyo to Osaka :
There are many ways to travel from Tokyo to Osaka, one of the most affordable one was an 8 hour bus ride. The ticket was 7,200 yen (RM 260), we booked it 5 days before the date at Shinjuku Bus Terminal with a guide from people working at the bus station.

The bus ride was super fancy, we each got dedicated private and comfortable seat, with thick blanket (it gets cold), personal space (with private curtains for each seat), can lower down the seating, and rise-up the legs section, individual USB charging deck, free unlimited WIFI and toilet (AirAsia seating is far from comfortable - the 8 hour afternoon ride in the bus was much better than the 6 hours night flight).


About mini hikes in Nara & Kyoto :
Apart from the bad weather, we had several fun times in nature, we did some mini hikes away from the hectic crowds and summer heat. I did planned to do nature walks in the forest (in Japan), but the weather was not friendly throughout the week, so we had to cancel most plans. 

These mini hikes weren't planned, it was just something that happened during our trips. It was a nice surprise. The first one was when we arrived in Nara, and we already visited all the listed places, so I suggested that we visit the farthest point in the given map, that is Kasugayama Primeval Forest. We had a nice several hours walk, no one was around, just the calm forest silence and old tall trees.

The second one was in Uji, Kyoto.
We hiked to the Daikichiyama observation deck. It was a fairly easy mini hike, I was trying to avoid the sun and suggested we walked towards the place. Not sure how long did we took to hike up because we stopped several times for photos. The observation deck had a nice panoramic view of the Uji City.

In nicer seasons, you can also enjoy lines of sakura (spring) and maple trees (autumn), among all other tall old trees.  


In Nov, I went to Turkey, just less than 2 months after the Japan trip and without Af.

This was with a Muslim group tour along with my older sister and her friend. Although Turkey is a friendly country, I don't really feel like it is possible for me to do a backpack travelling in Turkey (and those random riots are normal there). Turkey is a huge country with a lot to offer. It even takes up to 12 hours bus ride to reach to the next cities during our trip. So although I hated the group tour experience, I enjoyed the cities we went to during this 10 days trip and it was only for RM 3,250 including flights, hotels, foods and transportation. The last time I went to Turkey in 2014, the flight ticket alone was RM 2,700 :F

I like this photo because I look tall - I am short in nature. 

We went from Istanbul - Ankara - Cappadocia - Pamukkale - Kusadasi - Bursa - Istanbul, covering around 2000 km area on bus. So there was a lot of sitting for long hours in the bus. It was also the starting of winter (again, about the weather - I can't function in cold weather). Most days were below 10°C. I'm thanking God for the decision I made in buying my own winter coat (so I have at least 3 layers of thick clothes all the time). 

We also survived long flights. The worst one was on our way back home, we went to the airport on Sunday morning (at 10am) and finally arrived in Malaysia on Monday morning (at 10am). That is one whole day ! So around 3 hours from Istanbul to Iran, around 6 hours transit in Iran, and around 8 hours from Iran to Malaysia, missing around 5 hours in between continents. 

Lesson : Don't go with a group tour again (I hated the experience) and don't leave your husband (it was tough on me - I never left his side for the past 3 years :F What is the meaning of these travel trips and escapism without my own travel partner? )


I think I spent less than RM 7k in my 2018's international trips :F

5 comments on "Escapism : Japan + Turkey"
  1. Hai Azreen!

    It's nice knowing that you're still updating your blog. I've been a silent reader for years and I was a bit (a lot actually) sad that you're going to stop updating.. ;-;

    Okay moving on, I like reading your travel stories. I'm an introvert myself actually and I hardly go outside if I have a choice. But following your stories changes me.

    I've booked a ticket to Jeju Island for next year trip. I'm gonna go there with my friends after I graduate. This is a huge step for me as I've never been outside of Malaysia. I still don't know if I'm making the right or the wrong decision but I think I need this. I need to go out and see the world. At least once. Okay maybe twice, cause I really really really want to go to Japan! >.<

    Btw, I've just ordered your travel journal today! Can't wait for it to arrive, hehe. Thank you for restocking the book. Once I save up a little bit more, I'd love to buy the Summer & Typhoon Zine too :3

    17 days to 2019, I wish you all the best for everything!
    Sending you lots of love (~^-^)~ <3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3

    1. Hello Nini,

      Thanks for reading my blog - I thought no one still reads blog, so it felt like I've been writing to myself all these time. But I missed writing nonetheless.

      Well I think travelling opened my eyes to the world, much bigger than anything in books. I started travelling when I was 13, so since then, I've been wanting to go to places. I think it is good that you want to start travelling :) I think I try to travel at least once a year throughout my 20s - having your own saving account since small is a great start. It's never too late to start :)

      Have fun in Korea !
      Thanks for buying the book - I already posted it to you, hoping for it to arrive soon.


  2. Hi Azreen, I'm a huge fan of your work and also your blog. Not sure if you still going to update this blog (hopefully yes!) because, believe it or not, there are a lot of people who still read blogs but not all of them are rajin or bold enough to leave a comment, most of them are too shy and become a silent reader... like me haha

    Anyway, I agree with you about group tour. Not a fan of it, I like to be free and go wherever I want. I will only consider using tour guide when I am not confident going around places at the country I would travel to for example, Hong Kong, Taiwan or Japan but I think I could survive Japan.. by instinct haha

    Hope you have a great day :)

    1. Hello Tqa, thanks for still reading the blog :D Yeah,. no one writes anything much in the comment section (even when I ask questions in the end of the blog posts) so I just assume no one is reading any of my posts anymore :F

      I think you can definitely travel to Japan, Taiwan, or Hong Kong on your own. We did Japan 3 times already :D For me, places like Turkey, Beijing, India, are not places that I feel comfortable travel on our own. Huge places to visit that are farther apart, countries with random riots, not Muslim-friendly or dangerous for women/solo travellers an such. I'm actually very paranoid, but I love to travel so much. Hehe.

  3. Too good to be there, i wish i can be there soon too :) Jemput singgah blog :)